Highlights: Great cardio, fun scrambles, beautiful views
Distance: The direct trail up is 1.8km each way – elevation gained is 419m. If you choose to take the longer, less steep, easier on the knees, and safer in the rain trail along Finlayson Arm Road – that route is 5.6km one way.
Directions: The Mt. Finlayson trail head is located in Goldstream Provincial Park (although close together, this is not the same as the campground, so don’t follow signs to that). Follow Highway 1 north from Victoria for about 20min, enter Goldstream Park by turning right onto Finlayson Arm Road. There is a lot of parking by the river, but it can get very busy. If you get a choice of where to park, choose a spot near the bridge. To get to the trail head, you will need to continue walking down Finlayson Arm Road across the bridge until you see the trail head (covered map & notice panel) on the right hand side of the road.
The first thing I did when I moved to Victoria six months ago was hike Mt. Finlayson. I had heard about it from various locals before coming over to the Island and assumed it was a bit of a right of passage for anyone who wanted to claim local status. Since then I have hiked it maybe 5 times. So imagine my surprise when my friend who has lived in Victoria for at least a couple years, and who claims to be an outdoorsy guy, had never hiked it!! I felt like it was my calling to make sure this problem was corrected.
I had also heard that Finlayson was a May – September hike because the rocks get really slippery when wet… but this time window really shouldn’t be applied to the hike…. just maybe don’t hike it in the rain, and if you do, or if you get stuck in a sudden downpour, maybe take the longer, less steep route down the backside onto Finlayson Arm Road. I have done this other route just once with a friend looking for something a bit easier on his knees. It was a pleasant hike down through the woods and then what felt like a long walk along the paved road – this road does not have any sidewalk or shoulders so be careful. It is not that busy, but we had a few cars go by. It was kinda cool seeing the properties out in the woods – close to civilization, but yet also seeming miles away.
Goldstream Provincial Park has a lot more to it than just the hike up Mt. Finlayson. There is a nature house and a pretty marshy type area that is worth a visit – a short maybe 10 min walk along the river from the main parking lot. I also hear on the other side of the road, there is a larger network of trails – up to the old train trestle and around some previous mining areas…. definitely worth a return trip!
- Photo album
- My previous blog – with a little history on Finlayson
- Goldstream Provincial Park Website
- Trail Map